Our people from time immemorial inhabited the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains from the Fresno River to the Finegold Creek, and from the Coarsegold Creek to the San Joaquin River. Our forefathers made their living peacefully through farming, hunting, fishing, and gathering. They hunted deer, rabbit, raccoons and other game in the marshes and grass lands although most of their food came from plants, particularly acorns, nuts (acorns were a very important food), seeds, roots, and berries. Women gathered these staples in the summer.
During the Gold Rush years, the U.S. Government made treaties with the Chukchansi and many tribes in California, only to break them later. We lived in small bands when the federal government initially gave us federal recognition as an Indian Tribe-again removing the status shortly after. We joined a class action lawsuit entitled Tillie Hardwick vs. United States, fought for their rights, and won, regaining federal recognition in 1983. A Tribal Constitution was approved in July 1988. Through its seven-member governing body, the Tribal Council. Our Tribe continues to operate under the constitution.
Many of our people remain in the area we know to be home, Coarsegold and in the surrounding towns of Oakhurst, Madera, and the Fresno-Clovis metropolitan area. Even when we were no longer allowed on private property, we continued their way of life-hunting, fishing, and gathering food and basket materials. Although the federal government gave tracts of land to individuals for home sites, most families went completely homeless. The Tribe itself was landless until recent years when it had to borrow money to purchase land it originally owned.
The Tribe operates various federal, state, and local governmental programs that promote self-sufficiency and economic independence. We are achieving great stides in our individual capacities as educated, politically active members of our communities.